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 Growing stuff

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PostSubject: Re: Growing stuff   Sun Jul 27, 2008 3:25 pm

When you put the liner dow for your pond, kate, make sure the ground is really flat. Any sharp stones will rip the liner. The best thing to do really is to get about a tonne of sand and put that down before putting the liner down. The sand makes a nice soft flat bed for the liner to lie on.
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PostSubject: Re: Growing stuff   Sun Jul 27, 2008 3:36 pm

Thanks for that, African Dave. I've got husband working on it already. Have you built one? Any other ideas or tips? - please and thanks!
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PostSubject: Re: Growing stuff   Sun Jul 27, 2008 3:39 pm

Kate P wrote:
Thanks for that, African Dave. I've got husband working on it already. Have you built one? Any other ideas or tips? - please and thanks!
Fish. 
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PostSubject: Re: Growing stuff   Sun Jul 27, 2008 3:43 pm

My mother in law had a dozen cats of various ages when I called down yesterday. Fish, probably not a good plan affraid
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PostSubject: Re: Growing stuff   Sun Jul 27, 2008 3:49 pm

AfricanDave wrote:
When you put the liner dow for your pond, kate, make sure the ground is really flat. Any sharp stones will rip the liner. The best thing to do really is to get about a tonne of sand and put that down before putting the liner down. The sand makes a nice soft flat bed for the liner to lie on.

I have lined the underside with old carpet and newspapers and used butyl as the pond liner. You need to watch sand as it can sink to its angle of inclination and leave gaps if you have steep sides. A bag or two of cement mixed in may help bind it in place.

If you making a pond another opportunity not to be missed is to line an area far larger than you intend for the pond and fill it in and create a wet bog land area where water marginals will thrive.

Work work and more work but you can disappear up the garden and only be seen when a glass of juice is needed. A great form of exercise. Back to the jungle.
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PostSubject: Re: Growing stuff   Sun Jul 27, 2008 4:03 pm

Kate P wrote:
My mother in law had a dozen cats of various ages when I called down yesterday. Fish, probably not a good plan affraid
They'll just sit on the edge of the pond being taunted by the swimmy little feckers. My mother's friend has a HUGE pond with massive fish in it and their poor cat is driven insane by them. 
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PostSubject: Re: Growing stuff   Sun Jul 27, 2008 7:58 pm

You can get a little outdoor water pump for between 50 and 100 euros. Also waterproof LEDs are nice in water. And you can get coloured ones. My dad has little LED lights in his pond running off a battery which is charged by solar panels.
Water plants are nice but can be precarious.
If you're putting in fish make sure to put in somewhere for them to hide - stack a few rocks on top of each other or something - just in case of an attack by cats or birds (If the pond is deep enough this shouldn't be neccessary).
Edit - I didn't read the other part about the cats but with somewhere to hide the fish will be ok.
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PostSubject: Re: Growing stuff   Sun Jul 27, 2008 9:50 pm

Thanks a million, guys.

It turns out there isn't a lot of sand available so the carpet and newspaper will solve that problem.

I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to check in here before I went off to get the liner, because your idea, Squire, about the wetland area is fantastic and I would have done it and if it looks like I still can (the liner is a bit wider than I need it to be), I will., even if it's just a small bit.

That area should really be shelved, should it? The pond is two feet deep; would planting a foot deep be enough for what you're talking about?

I haven't thought as far ahead as lighting, African Dave, except that there is a long piece of swa cable that the builder left us to put lights at the end of the avenue, but which we'd decided against as pretentious - so there will be a power supply when I can mobilise the electrician in the family to do that job for the motor. I have a lot of outdoor oil lamps which I'm kind of fond of to start off with. Lethal but lovely.
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PostSubject: Re: Growing stuff   Mon Jul 28, 2008 10:07 am

Yep needs to be shelved and about 300mm sounds about right. I did something a bit more complicated with a small concrete upstand about 150mm below surface water level so that earth is better retained in the bog area and used a lot of peat (the cut stuff) to get a more acidic area. Also in the pond itself different plants grow at different depths. Depends on the scale of the beast you are undertaking. Ponds and water features are difficult enough and require a fair amount of maintenance but with solar powered pumps you can have all sorts of interesting features, simplest is usually best and hard to beat the sound of water trickling along. Visions of the Alhambra. There are a lot of good gardening books on ponds. Like virtually everything else mine are in London. The books around this place were probably written by Pliny and Palladius.

Squire Hall; need to do some serious planning it is more like a rear guard action against the hordes than a proper campaign with an end result. Think I have landed in my personal Iraq. A winter surge is needed when the enemy rests.
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PostSubject: Re: Growing stuff   Mon Jul 28, 2008 11:44 am

Solar powered pumps sound good.

The battle to stop the crops being eaten by bugs goes on. Hedgehogs are brilliant allies but we don't seem to have one this year. Perhaps we over-tidied:
their favourite places for nesting seem to be mouldering heaps of sticks and wood. I think I'll set up a couple of speculative hedgehog nests tonight and see if anyone moves in.
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PostSubject: Re: Growing stuff   Mon Jul 28, 2008 11:47 am

Thanks Squire.

I've been trying to find out a bit about alternative ways of powering a pump. We live on a very flat site, but now that there's a digger and a lot of earthmoving going on in the farmyard, I'm thinking that part two of the plan will happen sooner than I thought.

That involves creating a raised area beside the first pond (which is about 9x10ft) and in that raised area which is a lot longer but about the same width, creating a smaller pond (which will now have a bog area - thank you) and I had thought of some kind of small waterwheel eventually, which I'd like to build myself, connecting the two, but with a pump to circulate the water back up. For the time being, it will probably be a waterfall made out of slate and rocks. A solar powered pump would be best, because I've figured that there won't be enough power generated by the wheel to power the water back up (just a couple of feet). Wind I think, isn't viable because of the scale.

My two brothers - one of whom is an electrician, and the other who is a builder - had a riotous half hour utterly taking the mick out of all that last night and all I could think about was that song 'don't tell me not to try, I've simply got to; If someone takes a fall, it's me and not you; don't bring around a cloud to rain on my parade...'

I've a pile of gardening and garden design books and there are some really useful websites I've been perusing.

Squire Hall sounds like you need to either 'exterminate, exterminate' on a vast scale or else just go with it doing its own thing and love it into submission.
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PostSubject: Re: Growing stuff   Mon Jul 28, 2008 12:37 pm

I shall tell a cautionary and sad tale about hedgehogs. Make sure you fit covers on your gully traps. One drowned here trying to drink out of the trap, got stuck and couldn't get back out, suppose its spines didn't help.

Squire Hall came to me via an elderly relation who pottered around here well into her 90s with her cats. Total detachment from reality. She followed the weird tradition of tombstones for tiddles and bosk and the decendants have probably gone feral up the hillside. At least that is what I tell myself. Glinting eyes in the dark!

100 years ago it was probably a wonderful place but seriously overgrown and the house needs more than tender loving care. Fixed the worst parts of the roof but need to sort the place out properly instead of flailing about with a machete. Unfortunately will soon have to head off to London and then out East after a detour or two.
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PostSubject: Re: Growing stuff   Thu Sep 25, 2008 11:16 pm

Hows the harvest going lads ?
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PostSubject: Re: Growing stuff   Fri Sep 26, 2008 12:44 am

Watching a wonderful programme on the gathering of wild tea in the southern mountainous regions of Yunnan in China.

"If you look too hard for a tea tree you will never find one" is one of the sayings.

Other rules: don't pick too many leaves from one tree, and don't look over your shoulder when you leave the tree. Consequently trees are still alive that have been picked from for over 1,000 years.
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PostSubject: Re: Growing stuff   Fri Sep 26, 2008 1:01 am

cactus flower wrote:
Hows the harvest going lads ?

Personally - not anything like the last few years, but this year has been particularly manic on the work front. Loads of taties, onions, carrots and peas. Otherwise, a smattering of this and that.

HOWEVER, the master plan for the next year is almost finalised and it is going to be back to form! Lots of digging planned for this weekend, if the weather is dry. Then the Kohlrabi can be the first to be planted....
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PostSubject: Re: Growing stuff   Fri Sep 26, 2008 1:33 am

Atticus wrote:
cactus flower wrote:
Hows the harvest going lads ?

Personally - not anything like the last few years, but this year has been particularly manic on the work front. Loads of taties, onions, carrots and peas. Otherwise, a smattering of this and that.

HOWEVER, the master plan for the next year is almost finalised and it is going to be back to form! Lots of digging planned for this weekend, if the weather is dry. Then the Kohlrabi can be the first to be planted....

I'm a beginner at veg - leeks did well, fennel, rocket (but it was very peppery) and brussel sprouts. Cabbages all eaten by something.
Apart from kohlrabi, any suggestions for what I can plant this time of the year ?
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PostSubject: Re: Growing stuff   Fri Sep 26, 2008 2:14 am

Carrots, lettuce and broad beans in cold frames. What about spring cabbage? Early peas around end of October if memory serves me right.

Nitrogen fixing plants for general ground cover.
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PostSubject: Re: Growing stuff   Fri Sep 26, 2008 11:30 am

Had a great year with root vegetables. Loads of parsnips, carrots, radishes and beetroot. I have never had such a bad year with beans; they were savaged by slugs and snails and ravaged by wind. Surprisingly my tomatoes went very well. Any suggestions for winter crops?
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PostSubject: Re: Growing stuff   Fri Oct 24, 2008 1:13 pm

Any suggestions for what edible things I can plant at this time of year?
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PostSubject: Re: Growing stuff   Fri Oct 24, 2008 2:16 pm

cactus flower wrote:
Any suggestions for what edible things I can plant at this time of year?
Garlic
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PostSubject: Re: Growing stuff   Fri Oct 24, 2008 2:20 pm

Can I just use ordinary bulbs from the corner shop?
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PostSubject: Re: Growing stuff   Fri Oct 24, 2008 2:24 pm

You can.

You know the way when garlic cloves are left in the fridge for too long they will sprout a little green shoot? Take these and plant them in a pot an inch below the ground. You plant the cloves, not the bulb. And don't go stripping the skin off the bulb.
They need to be planted when it is cold, frost actually does them good I'm told.

I see an American website says they should be planted on Columbas Day, which is October 21st.

They should be ready in August.
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PostSubject: Re: Growing stuff   Fri Oct 24, 2008 2:28 pm

eoinmn wrote:
You can.

You know the way when garlic cloves are left in the fridge for too long they will sprout a little green shoot? Take these and plant them in a pot an inch below the ground. You plant the cloves, not the bulb. And don't go stripping the skin off the bulb.
They need to be planted when it is cold, frost actually does them good I'm told.

They should be ready in August.

Thanks, I think they'll do well - leeks and onions like my garden. I had welsh onions once, they were beautiful as well as edible, with a lovely white flower/seed pod thing on top. Eventually the snails got them.
I suppose it will be time to plant fruit trees soon - we had about 40-50 pears this year off a little tree planted two years ago - delicious and all went in a couple of weeks. We're going to plant another one of those - just pop it into a south facing hedge.
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PostSubject: Re: Growing stuff   Fri Oct 24, 2008 2:33 pm

Is there leaves at the moment on your pear tree?

I got a present of a little pear tree in a pot from my nephews in the summer. Great present, BTW. Anyway, the leaves immediately all fell off. Within 2 months they had grown back again. But now they have all fallen off again.
Is there something wrong, of is this behaviour normal for pear trees?
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PostSubject: Re: Growing stuff   Fri Oct 24, 2008 3:13 pm

Trees can be very fussy about changes of environment and will often go into shock when they are moved or transplanted. Always best to do this in winter as they are dormant then.
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